Written by: Travis Bisbee
Nerves are high as the Deadly Bass event is about to begin. Uncertainty swirls through the room. Artists are pacing backstage as sound-check is wrapped up. Anxious introductions are made and the tension is high in the historic Mesa Theater.
This is DEADLY BASS!
First opened in 1885 as an opera house, the venue has facilitated every type of musical and visual experience imaginable. Some of the very first silent films as well as the first moving pictures that included sound were screened in the venue back at the turn of the 20th century. The Mesa Theater‘s rich history can be felt as you step foot into the venue. Instinctively the mind knows that this venue has housed a vast number of legendary artists. The collective energy of the past performances echos and bounces through the building. For most of the performers and artists, Deadly Bass will be the first gig in eight months or more. It is apparent that each and every one of them is mentally and spiritually preparing themselves for their attempt at leaving their mark on the Theater. Flume plays out over the house system as doors open and people slowly begin to walk up the ramps and fill into the main hall of The Mesa Theater. It’s easy to tell that there is a high level of anticipation for everyone present. As final adjustments are being made for the projector and the sound equipment, guests are mingling and a few laughs start to reverberate throughout the venue. Old patterns and habits show themselves as everyone begins to relax and forget the worries of the world, reconnecting with their friends and rave families. The camaraderie of western Colorado‘s bass scene is certainly its strong point.
It’s now 40 minutes into doors-open. About 25 people are already inside the theater waiting for the show There’s another 10 in the bar and another 20 outside mingling. It’s 20 minutes prior to the opening act and already there are 50+ people present. This is a really good sign that the night is going to have an impressive turnout. A dancer in a police costume has taken to the dance-floor to The Flume song that is currently spiraling around the historic mesa theater shouts and growls blast across the staggered rows of properly space guests. A quick conversation with the ‘Bass Pope‘ aka Hunter Atlas (performer and promoter for the event) about the ins-and-outs of the visual production of the night ended in a cheerful mood as the ‘Bass Pope’ danced off with a giant grin on his face. He truly does this for the love of the energy that the EDM community and bass music provide him.
Odin opens the show with an amazing custom intro. Perfectly synced with an awesome live action Viking visualizer The next hour sees the venue begin to fill. As the strobes and lights assault the eyes the brutal bass of the newly updated sound-system at the Mesa Theater punches me in the gut with waves of pure energy. Highlighting Odin‘s performance was the surprising hardstyle genre tracks dropped in the middle of his set. Fists pumped and the sweat began to pour as the vibe of the venue started to return to the normal. Although most guests have remained in their own groups are masked, it almost feel like the world has gone back to normal. For a moment the pandemic slips to the back burner of the mind as the event begins to build momentum. Only time will tell what the rest of the evening has in store.
Deadly Bass is ShockerT‘s first time playing in Grand Junction’s Mesa Theatre and he obviously intends on ripping everyone’s face off with bass. By the second drop the entire room is moving in unison. At one point just before a drop a vicious “WHAT THE FUCK” belies from the floor and a small mosh pit opens as the care of the world are obliterated by the sonic assault provided by ShockerT.
Illuminasti has taken the stage and instantly the guests outside socializing rush into the main-hall. Everyone present is fully aware of what is about to go down. A quick headcount estimates that we are approaching the venues 50% capacity limit already green lights flicker above Illuminasti and the crowd is LOUD. Souls screaming in excitement for the inevitable abduction that is approaching. Guiding the crowd through the spectrum of bass the set crescendos with a nasty switch up to a trap ID that set the theater on fire! The aliens united in movement and destroyed the rail.
Following the alien abductions of the Illuminasti set came the apocalyptic wave of atomic-bass provided by Denver, CO based producer Nuclear Ninja. Nuclear Ninja started his set with a moving and heartfelt one minute speech expressing his gratitude to the Theater and the crowd for coming out for the night. After revealing to the 135 year old opera house that we were about to be nuked by a 1 hour-all original set we had reached Defcon 5. The bass frequencies were so massive that flashbacks to the dubstep don Excision’s Paradox Tour immediately flashed through my mind at the advent of the first drop! A mixture of amazing originals and excellent crowd interaction led by Nuclear Ninja left everyone in a bass-induced trance. During one drop of his forthcoming Deathstar Cult Ltd release “Masta” literally every single life form moved as one cohesive unit. We had become a collective entity again for the first time since we were struck by this terrible pandemic. 200 plus individuals head banging in perfect unison was a moving experience to be a part of. Nuclear Ninja embodied everything this EDM Bass scene is about. Peace, love, unity and respect abounded everywhere the eye landed.
Local favorite Hunter Atlas can be seen in his Bass Pope outfit lurking back stage with a comedic yet daunting vibe being projected into the Theater simply by his presence on stage. Everyone who has been part of the Western CO Bass scene since 2015 knows exactly what is about to happen. There is a reason Hunter Atlas is affectionately referred to as “Rave Daddy” by a certain circle of his core fans. He is our Bass “Dom”. (BDSM slang for dominant) He is here to bring total control and dominance to the entire room. What followed was nothing short of an hour of pure Darkness and Adrenaline fueled madness. Perfectly synchronized visuals and lighting added the icing to the cake that was the headlining set of the night. Esoteric and occult imagery pulsed at a rapid pace as every soul present was given over to the darkness for that moment in time. The crowd slipped into a primal state of trance and it became clear that this was much more than a simple DJ set at a local venue just for shits and giggles. This was The Bass Pope‘s church. Both visceral and spiritual in nature simultaneously. After a shout out to Deathstar Cult, Hunter Atlas played many unreleased IDs from the local record label. Rescve, Scafetta, Alien Thunder, Decipher, Xvernight and HighdruH IDs were caught within the set. a total of 10 Deathstar Cult tracks were featured in the set and the crowd loved each one! The western Colorado EDM scene has shifted from its past issues and is poured to become a household name in the global bass scene. As we reached the peak of the nearly orgasmic set, Hunter Atlas led the entire venue in an acapella as the 50% capacity venue bellowed in unison “I hate everything about you, so why do I still love you?” The apex of the entire evening came moments later as Atlas transitioned into a massive remix of Excision‘s “Feel Something” made by Hunter Atlas. himself. We had all submitted to our Rave Daddy and not a single individual was left that had not felt the total bliss of the bass.
A lighthearted and fun filled b2b2b2b brought the evening to a close and the highlight of the back to back came when Odin and ShockerT dropped SVDDEN DEATH’s satanic bass anthem “Bleed” and the bass throbbed so deeply that my vision became blurred from the vibrations. Midnight came far to quickly and the Deadly Bass Event was brought to a close. I for one simply cannot wait for the next event at The historic Mesa Theater.
Written by: Travis Bisbee